Hand Sanitizer | Best Practices For Personal Hygiene

Yes! Of course, you’ll agree that aside from COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the next talk of the town is a Hand Sanitizer. Bearing in mind, the hand sanitizers on Amazon were overpriced. And as for the past weekend, on Walmart, they were completely sold out.

Only on my third try was I able to find the clear gel — at a Walgreens, where only three bottles of Purell were left. I bought two. Meaning, hand sanitizer is a hot commodity right now.

Hand Sanitizer Shortage

FILE – In this Feb. 28, 2020 file photo, rows of hand sanitizer are seen empty at a Walgreens in Idaho Falls, Idaho. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, file).

Fear of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on hand sanitizer. Leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush. 

We all know the advice: Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. When you can’t, use hand sanitizer.

But actually finding hand sanitizer anywhere is another story. Bottles of Purell and other sanitizers are few and far between on store shelves. And if you do manage to come across a solution with at least 60% alcohol, chances are it has a hefty price tag.

What is Hand Sanitizer?

For instance, enter liquor distilleries. Whereby, distilleries are stepping in to help combat the hand sanitizer shortage. By using the alcohol in their facilities to create their own alcohol-based solutions.

With some packaging it in small bottles while others are encouraging people to bring in their own containers for refills.

Hand SanitizerAccording to Britannica, hand sanitizer, also called hand antiseptic, or hand rub, is an agent applied to the hands for the purpose of removing common pathogens (disease-causing organisms).

Hand sanitizers typically come in foam, gel, or liquid form. Their use is recommended when soap and water are not available for handwashing. Or when repeated hand washing compromises the natural skin barrier. For example, causing scaling or fissures to develop in the skin.

Although the effectiveness of hand sanitizer is variable, it is employed as a simple means of infection control in a wide variety of settings. From day-care centers and schools to hospitals and health care clinics and from supermarkets to cruise ships.

Which are the Types of Hand Sanitizers?

Depending on the active ingredient used, hand sanitizers can be classified as one of two types. Namely, the alcohol-based or alcohol-free.

To enumerate, alcohol-based products typically contain between 60 and 95 percent alcohol. Usually in the form of ethanol, isopropanol, or npropanol. At those concentrations, alcohol immediately denatures proteins. Effectively, neutralizing certain types of microorganisms.

On the other hand, alcohol-free products are generally based on disinfectants. Such as benzalkonium chloride (BAC), or on antimicrobial agents, like triclosan.

Important to realize, the activity of disinfectants and antimicrobial agents is both immediate and persistent. While at the same time, many hand sanitizers also contain emollients (like glycerin). That soothe the skin, thickening agents, and fragrance.

How is a Hand Sanitizer used?

Before applying any hand sanitizer, it is important that you read the label to learn the correct proportions used.

The following process should take around 20 seconds;

  • Apply the gel product (sanitizer) to the palm of one hand,
  • Rub your hands together,
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands, fingers and between fingers until your hands are dry.

What do you think about Handwashing? Please share your thoughts and contributions in the comments section below this blog.

Always remember, baby wipes may make your hands look clean, but they’re not designed to remove germs from your hands. That’s why the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water when possible.

How Effective are Sanitizers?

Basically, the effectiveness of hand sanitizer depends on multiple factors. Including the manner in which the product is applied. Like the quantity used, duration of exposure or frequency of use. And whether the specific infectious agents present on the person’s hands are susceptible to the active ingredient in the product.

In general, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can effectively reduce populations of bacteria, fungi, and some enveloped viruses. Such as influenza A viruses and now the COVID-19 virus.

For one thing, if rubbed thoroughly over finger and hand surfaces for a period of 30 seconds. Followed by complete air-drying. Similar effects have been reported for certain alcohol-free formulations. Such as SAB (surfactant, allantoin, and BAC) hand sanitizer.

However, most hand sanitizers are relatively ineffective against bacterial spores. As well as nonenveloped viruses (e.g., norovirus), and encysted parasites (e.g., Giardia). They also do not fully cleanse or sanitize the skin when hands are noticeably soiled prior to application.

What are the Best Practices for Personal Hygiene?

In that case, agencies such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promote the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers over alcohol-free products.

And indeed, the use of alcohol-free products has remained limited. In part because of WHO’s and CDC’s focus on alcohol-based products. But also because of concerns about the safety of chemicals used in alcohol-free products.

Research has indicated that certain antimicrobial compounds, such as triclosan, for example, may interfere with the function of the endocrine system. While environmental contamination from triclosan is another concern.

What you Should know about Hand Sanitizer

Disinfectants and antimicrobials also can potentially contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance. In 2014, mounting concerns over triclosan led authorities in the European Union (EU) to restrict the chemical’s use in various consumer products in the EU.

By comparison, concerns over the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers have centered primarily on product flammability and ingestion. Both unintentional (e.g., by young children) and intentional (by individuals seeking to abuse alcohol).

With proper storage and strategies that limit access to alcohol-containing sanitizer is considered to be very low. Particularly, while issuing hand sanitizer to individuals, where the risk of fire or poisoning from accidental or intentional ingestion are on spot.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations.

However,
  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • They may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand Sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Note: Although the effectiveness of hand sanitizer is variable, it is employed as a simple means of infection control (pandemic) in a wide variety of settings.

How do I Make a Hand Sanitizer?

Eventually, everyone is wondering; how do I make sanitizers at home? Not forgetting, the demand for hand sanitizer is at an all-time high right now.

And as a result, finding out where to buy hand sanitizer is getting harder by the day. But, don’t panic! Here’s how to make a hand sanitizer or a Purell alternative at home with a few ingredients.

As outlined in the coronavirus tips checklist, the best defense against contracting any kind of virus is practicing basic hygiene. Like washing hands regularly and keeping your hands away from your face.

In addition, it is important to practices more personal measures like social distancing. And obviously, a hand sanitizer helps you rinse germs from your mitts when you can’t get to a sink.

What’s More!

As long as its 60% alcohol, the CDC says a hand sanitizer is a viable option. Particularly, for preventing the spread of illness.

Keeping in mind, hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. And do not eliminate 100% of germs.

But if you can’t find any in your local pharmacy, it’s worth making some to have handy throughout your day. And know better than to submit to ridiculous markups on Amazon.

Here’s how to make hand sanitizer at home, plus tips for using it properly.

What are the Preferred Ingredients?

A biomedical Ph.D. broke down what you’ll need to make hand sanitizer at home. Where you might have several of these items around already.

And if not, they’re likely more available than Purell is at the moment. Not to mention, I’ve also included links to where you can get some of these ingredients online.

Step 1:

Mix the rubbing alcohol, aloe vera and optional essential oil in a bowl with a spoon. Be careful to keep pure alcohol away from your skin.

Step 2:

Funnel the mixture into the empty bottle. Screw the pump cap back on and voila, you have hand sanitizer.

Making Hand Sanitizer at Home: Warning

As easy as it is to make your own hand sanitizer, you should be aware that rubbing alcohol in high quantities can damage your skin.

So, make sure you stick to the 2:1 proportion to keep the alcohol content around 60%. You can also use gloves while mixing. And as you follow up sanitization with hand moisturizer.

And I hope it goes without saying that hand sanitizer alone isn’t going to protect you from getting sick. Therefore, wash your hands with soap and water when it’s available.

Equally important, limit how much you touch your face.

Takeaway,

Despite the variability in effectiveness, hand sanitizers can help control the transmission of infectious diseases. Especially in settings where compliance with handwashing is poor. For example, among children in elementary levels playing freely on the unguarded grounds.

The important aspect here is the incorporation of either an alcohol-based or an alcohol-free hand sanitizer into community hand-hygiene programs and settings. In hospitals and health care clinics, increased access to alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been linked to overall improvements in hand hygiene.

Guys, please keep safe!

Always remember, Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) is a new thing to everyone. May it be research elites (like jmexclusives), doctors, scientists, WHO, and all medical fraternity. So, we were not all prepared for this! And nobody has the actual behavior of the virus, spreading patterns and remedies.

Everything is on full-throttle guesswork, trial, and error. And the bottom line is; let us boost our immune system in the best possible way. Also, let us pray for all the Scientists, Dr’s, WHO, Healthcare professionals for God to direct their minds and reveal a solution.

But all in all, keeping safe is our ultimate goal and first priority. As such, use soap and water every 20 mins at least. Soap is stronger than all the types of alcohol-based sanitizers.

Resources;

Finally, I hope the above revised-guide was of help to you or even someone close to you.

But, if you require more additional support in regards to this or more of our blog topics, please Contact Us. You can also share your inputs in the comments box below this blog.

Here are more related and useful links;

  1. Self Quarantine | What does It mean in Simple terms?
  2. Coronavirus Symptoms | 5 Self Isolation Best Practices
  3. COVID-19 Coronavirus | Read The WHO Public Safety Tips
  4. Where to buy hand sanitizer | These retailers still have stock
  5. Oregon distillery making and giving away hand sanitizer
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